Trigger finger is also called stenosing tenosynovitis. It is characterized by a snapping of the finger when it is straightened. The finger may feel stiff or stuck, but with continued force it quickly extends with a snap.
Trigger finger tends to occur in people who actively use their hands for work or hobbies. A continued repetitive movement creates inflammation of the tendon sheath and eventual thickening. This thickening can create a bump or ball that jumps when it passes through the tendon sheath.
Symptoms of Trigger Finger
Trigger finger usually occurs slowly. It begins with a stiffening of the finger. Sometimes a click can be heard. A small bump or nodule can be felt at the base of the finger and is the site where the finger feels like it is catching or clicking. As trigger finger worsens, the finger catches more and begins quickly popping when straightened.
The flexor tendons pass though a soft-tissue pulley system, which allows for contraction of the fingers. Through continued use and repetitive movements inflammation creates a thickening of the tissue, which is the bump that forms at the base of the finger.
Treatments of Trigger Finger
Home treatments consist of rest, ice, finger stretching, and simple exercises. Avoiding repetitive movements and grasping activities will aid in the recovery.
Office treatments aim to reduce the inflammation of the tendon sheath. Graston Technique and manual therapies will reduce the tendon adhesions and improve movement through the tendon sheath. Conservative treatment is often successful in most cases. Advanced cases may require steroid injections or surgical treatments to release the finger.
Trigger finger is different than Dupuytren's Contracture, despite their similar appearance.
Trigger finger can be treated to restore normal motion and function to the hand. If the clicking and popping is worsening, seek care from an experienced provider. For more information on Graston Technique treatments for trigger finger, see www.grastontechnique.com.